Japanese is not a tonal language; it is a pitch-accent language, which means that certain syllables are emphasized with a higher pitch, while the other syllables are spoken in a more neutral tone.
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The Japanese language
Japanese is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, with over 125 million native speakers. It is the official language of Japan and is also spoken in parts of China, Korea, and other countries. Japanese is a member of the Japonic language family, which includes other languages such as Ryukyuan and Ainu. It is a highly complex language, with a unique writing system and a rich vocabulary.
What are tonal languages?
Tonal languages are languages that use pitch to distinguish between words. These languages use different tones to distinguish between the meanings of a word or to convey different emotions. Examples of tonal languages include Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and most African languages. In a tonal language, a single word can have multiple meanings depending on the tone used.
So what is a pitch-adjacent language?
A pitch-accent language, means that certain syllables are emphasized with a higher pitch, while the other syllables are spoken in a more neutral tone. This system is used to distinguish between words and to express different emotions. It is also used to differentiate between honorific and polite forms of words.